The next government will be asked to fuel growth of the Eastern Economic Corridor (EEC) by speeding up the construction of a high-speed rail system linking three airports and through the second-phase development of the EEC, says the EEC Office.
Authorities plan to send EEC development proposals to the new cabinet within August if the process to vote for the new prime minister does not face a further delay, said Chula Sukmanop, secretary-general of the EEC Office.
"The State Railway of Thailand, the EEC committee and a consortium awarded a construction contract are currently discussing ways to fix problems and revise some contract conditions to facilitate investment," he said.
The rail system, which is scheduled to be completed in 2027, links Don Mueang airport in northern Bangkok, Suvarnabhumi airport in Samut Prakan and U-tapao airport in Rayong, covering a distance of 220 kilometres.
The 224.5-billion-baht project will serve as a key transport system linking the EEC and nearby provinces.
Parts of Rayong, Chon Buri and Chachoengsao form the EEC, which will be turned into a high-tech industrial hub hosting 12 targeted S-curve industries, including electric vehicles and medical and wellness tourism.
Mr Chula said the second-phase development of the EEC, applicable between 2017 and 2027, will pave the way for the sustainable growth of the economy in the long term.
"The EEC Office has adjusted the phase 2 plan to make it better suit changes in economic circumstances, brought by internal and external factors," said Mr Chula.
Under the second-phase development, officials focus on the development of digital and logistics businesses as well as industries based on the bio-, circular and green (BCG) economic development concept.
Declared a national agenda item by the Prayut Chan-o-cha administration, BCG encourages manufacturers to adopt technology that can add value to their products and simultaneously minimise the negative impact on the environment.
The EEC Office will also emphasise the upskilling of workers to serve S-curve industries in the second-phase plan, Mr Chula added.
The government believes investment in the EEC will be among factors helping the nation attain a target of 5% GDP growth a year.
Between 2018 and 2022, investment value in the EEC stood at 2.2 trillion baht. There were additional investment projects, worth 10.7 billion baht, from 61 firms during the first half of this year.